Friday, February 01, 2008

What were they thinking?

What were they thinking?
Originally uploaded by daveterry.
The great thing about a journal or sketchbook (or if you put them together, an illustrated journal), is that you can travel back in time.

As I read this entry I realize how close to reality I was. The very next day I lost my job. I DO have more time to sketch.

The same company that moved me out here and provided a moving and sign on bonus, is the same company that says the position is now closed.

My boss was also terminated. Hundreds are gone now.

When I got home I received a flood of personal email from so many I've worked with at the Enterprise. One woman said: "When I heard the news I thought, what the **** were they thinking."

But they aren't thinking. They are just reacting. They are trying to meet a quarterly line item in the Profit & Loss Summary. They want Wall Street and the board to be pleased with their performance in this turbulent market and in the oncoming 2008 recession.

The company is flush with cash but they are afraid to spend it. They have no vision.

Visions mean you have to ignore the noise from Wall Street while you get stuff done.

And here's the strange thing: In this year's 360 review, I got the highest scores possible. I received ratings of 5 in almost every area. I'm now convinced that they don't mean a thing.

On Thursday morning at 7:15 a.m. my phone rang. It was my boss' boss calling. This may not be good.

When I arrived into his office he said: "I've only heard great things about you...but, you know, these are hard times. This is the first time I've met you and this makes it hard for me. Of course, if I did know you, it might be harder."

I said: "I remember at our last ALL HANDS meeting the CTO said that we were going to take care of our people first, no matter what. We are family. But I understand hard times." I was actually thinking: "But I guess hard times come before family."

He said: "Well, it doesn't seem much like a family doesn't it?"

And then continued: "We like to encourage folks to leave as soon as possible, you know, because of our sensitive systems. But we've trusted you these past six years so there is no reason why we wouldn't trust you now. Just leave your Blackberry at your desk when you want to go and we'll come up to get it."

"Hey, why don't I just give it to you now, that'll save you the trip."

Of course, there were many brilliant things I wanted to say but there was a stack of manila envelopes he had to give out that day.

He most likely doesn't know that his IT group is supporting the same functionality with three different systems. He doesn't have a deep understanding of what those systems are or what they do. He can't, he's only been with the company two years. He hasn't seen the Data Integration Landscape because my boss hadn't shown it to him yet. He hasn't yet seen the Application Inventory, which includes the health and the support model of those systems. I finished both just days ago. They are hanging on walls throughout the Enterprise like artwork in a museum. He may not get out much. He's been sort of busy.

I packed up my stuff, put it in the car, had breakfast in the cafeteria (because our little chat was at 7:15 am and I still had money on the company issued card) and then walked around and said goodbye to everyone.

I believe that there will be more cuts, and deeper ones, if we are to experience what they predict for 2008.

My advice to anyone that'll listen: Cut your overhead.

You can't depend on your job performance to retain a position in any organization. 2008 is projected to be a very tough year. Lowering your overhead is the single greatest protection against the oncoming storm.

As far as a job goes, working really hard and doing excellent work doesn't mean a thing, especially if management doesn't see or understand it.

Stay tuned. I'll tell you the first steps I took when I got home on Thursday, January 31st. It may also help you cope with the recession.

Life consists not in holding good cards but in playing those you hold well. -Josh Billings